[Usability] Re: [Desktop_architects] Printing dialog and GNOME

On 13-Dec-05, at 2:26 AM, Jeff Waugh wrote:
We're not aiming for "powerfully extensible". We're aiming for "Just Works".

I think that "powerfully extensible" is more useful to the Average User than people who come from a programming ghetto often accept, but that's an entirely different conversation, and I'm badly overdrawn on today's desktop-architects osdl account already.

If you're aiming for Just Works, with scarce resources, I submit that less energy should be spent tidying up preference dialogs. Yes, the GNOME 1.4 global panel pref window was almost an example of parody. Yes, add-a-pref was a path too oft taken in most free software (including ours!) for resolving design disputes.

But if it Just Works, then users don't have to go in there until they are into the (possibly-perpetual) "intermediate" stage. You can use a biohazard symbol next to the Edit->Preferences menu item if you want.

Is user adoption being hampered on a large scale by a lack of print options, or the polish in those print options? It seems like an odd thing to spend a lot of energy on, but I will freely concede that I have spent very very little time studying barriers to Linux desktop adoption.

(If you're after the enterprise route to adoption, though, I'd suggest putting "usability" on the back burner in favour of administration tools and checklist features, jammed in at whatever pref-panel complexity is required. The competition in that space is not successful because of great usability, possibly because the people who make the purchase decision are not the people who use the purchased product all day.)


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